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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, February 14th, 2017.

Evacuation order is reduced in Butte County

Air, Climate & Weather

Feb. 14, 2017

Butte County Sheriff’s Office to Reduce Immediate Evacuation Order to Evacuation Warning

Due to lower lake levels, further inspections, ongoing work to shore-up the Oroville Dam emergency spillway and updated weather forecasts, effective at 1:00 p.m. today, the Evacuation Order for the Oroville Dam Spillway Incident has been reduced to an Evacuation Warning. Any resident displaced by the evacuation may return home at 1:00 p.m.; however all residents are advised to remain vigilant and prepared as conditions can rapidly change. People who have special needs or require extended time to evacuate should consider remaining evacuated.

An Evacuation Warning means the immediate threat has ended but the potential for an emergency remains and therefore residents must remain prepared for the possibility of an Evacuation Order.

The decision to reduce the Immediate Evacuation Order to an Evacuation Warning is based on a number of factors, including:

  • Lower lake levels: With the rate of release through the primary spillway remaining at 100,000 cfs, over the last two days the lake level has dropped 12 feet below the top of the auxiliary spillway and no longer has water flowing over the top. This mitigation work will reduce the risk of erosion should the emergency spillway have to be used again, although flow through the primary spillway will continue to attempt to lower the reservoir to 851 feet (approximately 50 feet below full).

  • Further inspections: With the water level reduced, geologists and dam safety engineering specialists from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers were able to inspect the damage.  That inspection revealed that the integrity of the emergency spillway was not compromised by the erosion.

  • Ongoing work to shore-up emergency spillway: To prevent further erosion the DWR is lining the front of the spillway with boulders and concrete. That work is expected to be completed tomorrow, ahead of the forecasted stormy weather.

  • Updated weather forecasts: The decision has taken into account updated weather forecasts. The storm expected later this week is forecasted to be colder, with less rain and therefore a lower level of water flow into the reservoir than last week.

An evacuation center will remain open at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. All other evacuation centers supported by Butte County will be closed. Residents from other centers who are still seeking shelter due to the Evacuation Warning can go to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds.

Residents who evacuated animals to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds should collect their animals as soon as possible if returning home. Large animals can remain at the evacuation center, but owners are advised to secure an alternative location for animals that is outside the area under the Evacuation Warning. Owners are required to find transportation to get animals home or to an alternate location. A strict animal release protocol will be adhered to at the Silver Dollar Fairground. Animal owners must have photo ID and pink copy of the animal intake form.

Disabled residents who need assistance with transportation home should call (530) 342-0221 for para-transport. Local agencies and medical facilities are determining when patients can be returned to evacuated hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

Sheriff Kory Honea would like to thank those members of the community who were affected by this evacuation for their cooperation and patience. It was a difficult decision to order the immediate evacuation, but the need to act swiftly in the face of a potentially catastrophic incident was necessary in order to ensure public safety.

When you return home:

  • Take all of your personal items and small animals with you when you leave an evacuation center.

  • Drive carefully, thousands of Butte County residents evacuated and will be driving back to the Oroville, Gridley, and Biggs communities.

Residents should stay tuned to local information sources for any changes to the Evacuation Warning.

Living in California means being prepared.

Follow the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook and Twitter, sign up for emergency mass notifications at www.buttecounty.net/emergencymassnotification, and bookmark www.butteCounty.net.

The Spillway Incident Public Information Line is (530) 872-5951.

For a full list of state emergency and social media resources visit: http://www.oesnews.com/resources-for-oroville-dam-auxiliary-spillway-incident .

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BOR is a bad player — Liz Writes Life 2-14-17

Liz Writes Life

Feb. 14, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA.

A devastating flood disaster along the Klamath River was avoided last weekend — and it was because Siskiyou Co. Supervisors, officials and employees instantly jumped into high-gear.

Siskiyou Co. Natural Resources Specialist Elizabeth Nielsen quickly relayed a Press Release that she found on the county’s Office of Emergency Services website last Friday morning. It was from the Bureau of Reclamation and stated that BOR had lost a lawsuit and was immediately releasing a gigantic pulse of water into the Klamath River. What?

The pulse was to be released at noon on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 with an increase from the 4,000 cfs to 9,600 cfs over a four day period. This would be on top of an already flooding Klamath River that had closed Hwy 96 above Happy Camp. There was over a foot-and-a-half of water over the highway at Granite Point on Friday morning.

Elizabeth immediately contacted our five county supervisors and CAO, who then started burning up the cell phone lines. Ray Haupt, Dist. 5 Supervisor, admitted to me that he was pretty upset. His constituents were in the direct line of this potential disaster. He contacted PacifiCorp to see if they would actually allow the huge water increase on top of a flood stage. He was told it was out of their hands as BOR decrees the flows. Ray’s next phone call was to Erin Ryan, office staff for Congressman Doug LaMalfa. Erin immediately contacted LaMalfa’s Washington D.C. staff, who went to work calling federal officials with the BOR.

Ray told me that Michael Kopseff, Chairman of the Siskiyou Supervisors, first calls were to Assemblyman Brian Dahle and State Senator Ted Gaines offices for help. Terry Barber, Siskiyou Co. CAO, began alerting county departments and started the legal process to shut-down BOR’s pulse flow.

Ray kicked his fire knowledge into gear knowing that fire-type folks are year-round emergency personnel. Tom Mopas, Seiad Valley Fire Chief, provided Ray with on-the-ground info of the raging Klamath River and let him know that high waters were within six-inches of flooding homes on Walker Creek. Ray was able to relay that our congressman and his staff were at a dead run contacting the decision-making BOR officials.

According to the BOR officials in Klamath Falls, the pulse of water had already been released from Upper Klamath Lake. But, Ray believed it could be slowed through the use of the dams between Klamath Falls and Iron Gate dam near Hornbrook. The phone calls continued. Ray talked with his contacts in Cal-Fire. Cal-Trans booted-up even more and CHP officers were part of the emergency alerting process to river residents.

Ray finally received a response from California State Regional BOR Director late in the afternoon. He was told that BOR would not increase the river flow above flood stage with their pulses. Nature also helped out. Rain had stopped, freezing temps slowed the runoff Friday night and sunshine brightened Saturday’s morning. Catastrophic disaster was averted.

Ray said it is “unconscionable” the county was not notified by BOR — through the county CAO’s office. Neither was Humboldt County notified, well other than Ray, who asked the Siskiyou Cal-Fire chief to contact the Humboldt Cal-Fire chief.

Ray has found the lawsuit and read where the judge’s order gave complete discretion of pulse release timing to BOR!

So, who in their right mind would order a doubling of the release of water from the Klamath dams on top of a flood event? Who wouldn’t follow a basic protocol to contact officials in Siskiyou and Humboldt Counties? It is not just unconscionable, it is outrageous!

What is more outrageous is that after writing the above information on Sunday night, I learned of a news article in the Herald and News in Klamath Falls dated Feb. 9, 2017 – one day before Friday. It reported that BOR would be ramping-up the water release on Feb. 10, 2017, because the judge issued the lawsuit order on Feb. 8, 2017. And this was to “take advantage” of the increased flow event of rain-on-snow conditions.

The article also stated: “United States District Judge William H. Orrick ordered Reclamation to implement “winter-spring flushing flows designed to dislodge and flush out polychaete worms that host C. Shasta”. The increased flow event was planned in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes, Klamath Project water users, state and other fisheries experts, and PacifiCorp.”

I would think that at least one person in these groups would be smart enough to suggest the pulse could wait a few weeks, so homes and highways would not be flooded and damaged. This lapse of judgment boggles the mind.

The positive note from this situation is the teamwork and instant hustle of our county governing officials, CAO and county staff. It is truly comforting to know this group of people really does have a high-level of concern for the welfare of its citizens. Thank you to Ray and supervisors, county department heads, fire fighters, law enforcement and all emergency services. Thank you!

For those of you who think I am laying it on a little thick – it wasn’t very many years ago that I didn’t believe there was enough concern or teamwork or hustle or connections to federal and state officials to have stopped this catastrophic disaster. (Doug LaMalfa played a major roll with his influence on BOR.) There has been a good change in much of our county’s governing and attitude and I truly appreciate it.

The Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting was well attended last week. I’ve run out of room to discuss it in this week’s column. Let’s just say the groundwater levels are doing well and the water studies will certainly aid local control of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan. I will share the good news next week.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan, CA. Call her at 530-467-3515.

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Congressman Doug LaMalfa requests disaster funding

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

LaMalfa Requests Disaster Funding From the President

February 13, 2017

(Oroville, CA) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after sending a letter to President Trump urging that he declare a Presidential Disaster Declaration of a Major Emergency after the Oroville Dam spillway suffered major damage, leading to an increased threat to public safety and causing widespread evacuations in the surrounding areas.

LaMalfa said: “The damage to the emergency spillway and main spillway to the Oroville Dam is a major safety concern for the surrounding communities and a crisis that will persist for the foreseeable future. Residents have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter on higher ground as the risk for a major flood continues. The mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents is the very definition of a disaster and with more rain expected as early as Wednesday, it is critical that we act swiftly to ensure federal aid is available to support and shelter evacuees as this crisis continues to develop. The wellbeing of our residents is the number one priority and we must do everything within our power to ensure their safety. I urge the President and the Governor to take this action as rapidly as possible.”

 

The text for the letter is as follows:

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

President Trump:

We are writing to urge that you act rapidly to declare a Presidential Disaster Declaration of a Major Emergency to address the threat to public safety resulting from crippling damage to Oroville Dam, located in Butte County, California. Under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, a declaration would immediately direct federal resources to the area to help address a crisis of growing proportions and assist residents of three counties currently under mandatory evacuation orders.

Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the United States and the primary component of the State Water Project, experienced significant damage to its primary spillway late last week and operation of the spillway was rapidly curtailed. As a result of decreased releases from the primary spillway, a rapid, storm-caused increase in water levels triggered the first-ever use of an adjacent emergency spillway. During operation of the emergency spillway, it also experienced erosion-related damage to a degree which could result in failure and potentially catastrophic flooding if operations were continued. State and local officials determined that failure of the emergency spillway was so imminent that they triggered a mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 downstream residents late last night.

While the emergency spillway did not fail last evening, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), additional storms will reach Northern California as early as Wednesday and contribute significant precipitation over the following several days. The danger of failure is likely to persist for months as California’s winter and spring runoff seasons progress, and it is extremely unclear when state agencies will be able to mitigate the danger to a degree that would allow residents to return to their homes.

A Presidential Disaster Declaration would immediately make federal aid available to support evacuation and shelter of the residents of Butte, Sutter, and Yuba Counties, as well as increase the capacity of federal, state, and local agencies to address the crisis as it develops.

We ask that you act rapidly in order to ensure that appropriate federal agencies are able to rapidly provide assistance during this challenging situation. Thank you for your timely response to this request.

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.

 

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Bundy standoff: BLM tyranny and aggression exposed in video

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, Constitution, CORRUPTION, Courts, CRIMINAL, Federal gov & land grabs

Submitted comment:  If you’ve doubted BLM’s aggression in the Bundy Ranch Standoff, doubt no more. While the video is around 30 minutes in length, it’s worth every minute to watch. This is some of the footage government did not want you to see or made public. It is certainly worth your time to watch Michele Fiore’s video clip as well. I wish we had an elected representative as genuinely concerned for our rights as she is for her constituents.

http://freedomoutpost.com/leaked-video-from-bundy-ranch-siege-demonstrates-blm-tyranny-aggression/

Remember LaVoy Finicum 01/26/2016

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Editorial: State, feds must answer for Oroville Dam fiasco

Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, CA & OR, State gov

Editorial: State, feds must answer for Oroville Dam fiasco

SJ Mercury News

Federal and state officials have a lot to answer for in the wake of the Oroville Dam fiasco. They decided in 2005 to ignore warnings that the massive earthen spillway adjacent to the dam itself could erode during heavy winter rains — which it has done — and cause a calamity, which it very nearly did this week and could yet do by the end of this winter.

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